TOP PHOTO: Carrot tartare at 11 Madison
Park, served in custom-designed platters.
Photo courtesy Trip Advisor. BOTTOM PHOTO:
Simple but elegant carrot tartare at
Restaurant Niven | The Netherlands. Photo
Today’s tip is an illustration of how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Take the humble carrot.
Carrot tartare is turning up at the finest venues around the world. We recently had it as part of the 13-course tasting menu at 11 Madison Park in New York City. A walk away, it is served at the equally fashionable NoMad.
We found other preparations as far apart as New Zealand and The Netherlands.
CUSTOMIZED MIX-INS AT THE TABLE
At 11 Madison Park, the dish is culinary theatre. A shiny meat grinder is brought tableside. Beautiful farmers market carrots are ground as if they were sirloin.
The shreds of carrot are then plated and served to each person with condiments, set into a custom wood platter. At 11 Madison Park, it’s all about the mix-ins, customized as you like. The assortment of condiments can vary.
On one occasion we had pickled chopped chives; quail egg yolks; quince mustard; sea salt, shaved smoked and dried beets; sunflower oil; sunflower seeds; shaved horseradish; pickled quince and pickled mustard seeds, served with mini squeeze bottles of spicy curried vinaigrette and mustard vinaigrette.
On a second occasion, our mix-ins included apple mustard, chives, grated horseradish, mustard flowers, pickled apple, pickled ginger, pickled quail egg yolk, smoked blue fish, sea salt and sunflower seeds, with squeeze bottles of mustard oil and spicy carrot vinaigrette.
As with steak tartare, there’s a side of toast, here in the form of toasted whole grain bread. You can see the whole process here on YouTube.
But you don’t need a meat grinder or a specially designed platter to hold the carrots and mix-ins. You can present the dish ready to eat.
MIXED IN THE KITCHEN AND READY TO EAT
Here’s a recipe that arrives ready to eat. Great thanks go to Denise Kortlever, a Dutch cookbook author and creator of the website The Littlest Things, for obtaining the recipe. You must see her website; we want to eat everything on it!
Her carrot tartare recipe comes from Niven Kunz of Restaurant Niven in The Netherlands. A young, Michelin star chef, his philosophy is “80/20”: 80% vegetables and 20% meat or fish. (His book of that title is not yet available in English.)
You can make it in just 10 minutes. It can be served as a first course, or plated with an entrée protein.
We also have a recipe for Beet Tartare.
RECIPE: CARROT TARTARE
Serving Size: 4 Appetizer Servings
1 bunch of carrots, peeled (we used a blend of yellow, orange, red and purple carrots from Trader Joe’s)
1 very fresh egg yolk*
1 shallot, finely diced
4 anchovy† fillets, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, drained and finely chopped
1 dill pickle, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Garnish: fresh microgreens, sprouts, or a chiffonade of basil leaves
*It’s best to use organic eggs. If you’re concerned about salmonella, use SafeEggs pasteurized eggs or this technique to pasteurize eggs at home.
†Don’t like anchovies? Substitute 2-3 tablespoons of a tiny dice of Granny Smith or other tart apple.
1. GRATE the carrots coarsely on a box grater, Microplane or shredding disk of a food processor.
2. BLEND with the other ingredients into a smooth tartare. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. PLATE with a cooking ring (a.k.a. egg ring, English muffin ring or pancake ring). Place the cooking ring on a plate, fill with the tartare and press down with the back of a cooking spoon. Garnish with a green leaf.
TOP PHOTO: Carrot tartare served with lamb loin and drops of black garlic, pea purée and turnip purée at Chameleon Restaurant and Bar in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Trip Advisor. BOTTOM PHOTO: At Harvest On Hudson, local goat cheese is mixed into the carrot tartare. It’s garnished with arugula pesto and red beet vinaigrette. Photo courtesy Harvest On Hudson.
WHAT IS TARTARE?
Steak tartare, or tartar steak, is a meat dish** that got its name from the legend that the ever-invading Tartars†† did not have time to cook their meat, so ate it raw as they traveled on horseback.
Steak tartare is made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horse meat, plus seasonings. With its growing popularity over the last 30 or so years, other recipes have adopted the name. Salmon tartare, tomato tartare and tuna tartar are examples.
**The typical steak tartare recipe comprises ground raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg, served with toast points. A French variation, tartare aller-retour, is tartare patty lightly seared on one side. Steak tartare is often served with frites (French fries). In Belgium, the dish is known as filet américain. American? What happened to the Tartars?
††The Tartars, also spelled Tatars, are an ethnic group from Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Most Tatars live in the Russian Federation. To Americans, the most famous of the Tartars is Genghis Khan, whose troops invaded Europe in the 13th century. The most famous Tartar-American is the actor Charles Bronson.